By Mike Kappel
Small Business Saturday® (SBS) 2017 is coming in hot. After shoppers spent $15.4 billion on SBS 2016, it’s no surprise that businesses want to participate again this year. If you aren’t familiar with the national shopping day, here’s a little recap.
Each year since 2010, Small Business Saturday has taken place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It is a day devoted to small businesses. Shoppers can support their local stores, get discounts and other promotions, and kick off the holiday shopping season.
Small businesses across the country promote, prepare, and keep their doors open for SBS. This year, will you be one of them?
1. Reasons to participate in Small Business Saturday 2017
Small Business Saturday 2017 will take place on November 25. My company, Patriot Software, LLC, is again a corporate supporter of Small Business Saturday. We encourage businesses and shoppers alike to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in SBS.
For business owners on the fence, here are a few reasons why you should participate. Through Small Business Saturday, you can:
2. Give your bottom line a boost
Each year, shoppers spend billions of dollars on small business products and services on SBS. If you want a piece of the pie, you need to participate.
Because Small Business Saturday is an officially recognized shopping day created by American Express, it is accompanied by a huge nationwide advertising campaign. As a small business owner, you can piggyback on that national advertising. Like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers know what Small Business Saturday is, which can lead to more sales for your business.
Many small businesses choose to offer discounts, giveaways, or other promotions to shoppers. Promotions don’t mean your business has to take a hit. You can get rid of items at the end of their product life cycle to increase customer traffic.
Maintain a healthy gross margin and avoid marking your products down too drastically. When you participate in Small Business Saturday and offer incentives for customers to shop, you will notice an increase in revenue if you don’t try to compete with corporate prices.
3. Build brand awareness
I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 30 years. I know how important (and difficult) it can be to highlight your brand.
On Small Business Saturday, you might get people in your store who have no idea what it is you do. This is your chance to build brand awareness, talk about your business, and provide excellent customer service. Even if the customer doesn’t initially buy from you, they can keep you in mind in the future.
Picture this scenario. A family is shopping in the area where your business is. They notice your small business is open, so they decide to look around. You strike up a conversation with them about your offerings and how long your business has been around. Now, that family is more familiar with your brand.
When customers visit your shop on Small Business Saturday, encourage them to keep in touch. Use this initial meeting to introduce your brand, and continue drawing attention to it after SBS. Collect email addresses and ask shoppers to follow you on social media. Continue building brand awareness through social media and email marketing.
4. Gather data
Before SBS, you might promote your business’s participation on social media channels, through email marketing, flyers, or just word of mouth.
When customers come to your business, find out which advertising platform they learned about you from. That way, you can find out the most effective ways to reach your target audience for the rest of the year.
You might consider including a special code on different platforms that gives customers a discount. For example, your code in your email marketing campaigns is X724 and your code in your Facebook posts is F224. You can compare which codes were most used to find out how customers heard about your SBS participation.
5. Be a team player
Small Business Saturday is a community-centric day. It is a time for small businesses in your locality to come together.
You can team up with other small businesses to attract customers. For example, you could give a coupon to a partnering business when customers purchase from you and vice versa. That way, you show camaraderie with other small businesses.
Your community can play a role in the success of your small business. By being a recognized team player, you also build brand recognition and authenticity.
Some small businesses choose to offer a percentage of their SBS profits to a local charity. Customers like to know that their money is going to a good cause. Not only do you get a small business tax deduction while you’re accounting for charitable contributions, but you also impact the lives of those you support.
Mike Kappel is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of Patriot Software Company, and its subsidiaries. Patriot Software, LLC is a developer of online payroll and accounting software for U.S. small-business owners. Connect on Twitter: @PatriotSoftware.